Anna Biller

Authored by: Jennifer O’Meara

The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138950276
eBook ISBN: 9781315668819
Adobe ISBN:


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It is a testament to Anna Biller’s singularity as a filmmaker and artist that, with only two features and a handful of shorts to her name, she has rightfully earned a place in this collection. Biller began making shorts in 1994 after studying for a BA in art at UCLA, and an MFA in film and video at the California Institute of the Arts. It was the originality of her feminist revision of the sexploitation genre in Viva (2007) that first signalled her potential to be labelled a cult auteur, a category which, historically, has been male-dominated. Biller’s labour-intensive work processes involve not only writing, directing and editing her features, but also designing costumes and sets and producing their music. It would thus be a further nine years until her second feature, The Love Witch (2016). Both independent films focus on the complicated sexual fantasies of their leading ladies. Viva explores the life of Barbi (played by Biller), a 1970s housewife who is attempting to take part in the sexual revolution, to mixed effect. The Love Witch’s Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is more extreme still, using spells and potions to attract men into her sensuous, gothic Victorian world.

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